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The House: Losing it was the easy part

In posts below, Alex McClure and this writer each presented our outlook for the Senate in 2008 and beyond. Read them both, if you haven't already. The short version is: we aren't taking back the Senate next time, and probably not in 2010, either.


Some Republicans have declared that, with the Democrats winning so many Republican seats, we will retake the House in 2008. Hugh Hewitt, for example. Not so fast. Many of these districts were marginally Republican - easy enough to hold with strong incumbents, but not so easy to take back from a Democrat who doesn't shoot himself in the foot. Scott Elliott of Election Projection has the seat-by-seat breakdown, and it isn't pretty. If we sweep all the GOP-leaning districts AND the likely tossups, we will still fall short.


We should take a moment to thank those most responsible: Republicans and conservatives who stayed home or - gag - voted libertarian to "send them a message," and those who were just too dispirited - sniff - to be able to - sob - go to the polls and vote. For the first time since 1990, Democratic turnout exceeded the Republican effort. That, in the end, was the difference in the close races.

So, just what "message" did those Republican voters "send" by staying home? That they are dumb enough to think a Democratic House and Senate will spend LESS, do a better job managing Iraq, come up with a better immigration policy, be more dedicated to the fight against terrorism? Puh-leeze! But enough of that - I'll be beating you dimwitted "message-senders" about the head and shoulders from now on over this, but now is not the time. To the "dispirited" non-voters, I wish I could offer you hugs and comfort, but what you really needed was a kick in the pants on Tuesday. Cry me a river.


SO, THEN - just how can we go about retaking the House? It will be a long and difficult process if we rely upon demographics and "natural tendencies" to do it. Maybe after the 2010 reapportionment . . . BUT, in American politics things don't always - or even usually - go by the slow and natural process. Things often get shaken up. Take Tuesday, for example . . .

The only known cure for a "Blue Wave" is a countering "Red Tide." In order to retake the House, and to gain seats in the Senate (given the problems described in the posts below), we have to either hope the Democrats foul everything up completely in a year, or that we get some strong coattails to ride in 2008.


Winning a third consecutive term in the White House for Republicans won't be easy. It's only happened once since WWII - when Bush the Elder followed Reagan's two terms. It will require a candidate with broad bipartisan appeal who can run a "national unity" campaign and rally Republicans, independents, and enough Democrats to flip those borderline House seats back.

At this writing, the potential candidates who might fit that description are McCain, Guiliani, and Romney.

McCain is beloved of the press and independents, but for many conservatives his Campaign Finance Reform Act and "Gang of 14" usurpations of power have made him persona non grata. Nixon observed that Republicans need the conservatives to be elected. Romney faces some suspicion for his Mormon faith but, more importantly, also the daunting task of introducing himself to America. Whether or not he is able to "define himself" to the public remains to be seen.


That leaves Guiliani. He is already well-known and very popular among all segments of the American electorate. While many have long supposed his liberal social positions would alienate the right, that appears not to be the case. Here in South Carolina, where values are held dear and social conservatism rules, conservatives most often mention Rudy as the candidate they would like to see run in '08.

We need someone who can hold us together in the face of disaster and get us to work rebuilding. Rudy is such a leader. I've seen him do it.

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Comments (10)

The fact that Rudy has gone... (Below threshold)
cme:

The fact that Rudy has gone on record praising SCOTUS picks Alito and Roberts should alleviate a lot of fears among social conservatives like myself. While remaining pro-choice on actual legislation, he can mitigate his problems with social conservatives by being a strong advocate of states' rights (including the rights of states to establish their own abortion laws) and a strong opponent of judicial activism. Such a compromise might not be good enough to win over pro-life absolutists and might lose some hardcore pro-choicers who might otherwise support him, but I think it would be a politically optimal strategy. Besides, making good picks for the courts is really the most important thing at this stage in the game.

"McCain is beloved of the p... (Below threshold)
retired military:

"McCain is beloved of the press "

That honeymoon will be short lived if he gets the Republican nomination.

I was talking with a friend today on the 6 main contenders of 2008.

Kerry - Laugh (the word loser came up on both sides) If he won the dem nomination it would be a gift.


Gore - Laugh (off the reservation was the main topic)

and Hillary (I havent seen that much baggage since the scene in the airport baggage room in DIe Hard 2)

On the republican side

MCCain - The only man that will give the dems in a landslide as the republican base WOULD stay home to teach the party a lesson.

Guiliani - Tough on defense but social issues are not tolerable.

Romney - Some baggage but doubt if he is electable.

So we need to see some new blood in there for a viable candidate that the base will go for.

I foresee McCain not getting the republican nomination but being on someone's VP ticket. If he cant get the whole loaf he will settle for half. THe only reason he turned down carry was because he wanted the whole thing and '08 is his last shot.

I still foresee Cheney stepping down in late Jan early Feb for health reasons (I think this was planned long ago) and Bush will nominate someone that will become the front runner. Someone the republicans can get behind or doesnt have the baggage and does have electability. I honestly hope that will be Condi.

Condi becoming VP and Bush nominating Janice Rogers Brown to replace Souter who will hopefully retire will IMO cause the dems to self destruct. Condi has the foreign crendtials to back her up and put say Guiliani in as VP (or uggggggg McCain (in which case Obama will be VP candidate for dems) and I think that we will do good in '08)

Just my opinion for what it is worth (which after my predictions for Tuesday isnt much right now).

I have a pick for our nomin... (Below threshold)
nehemiah:

I have a pick for our nominee in 2008 (not thought of but undoubtedly exciting):

Rep. Mike Pence.

Methinks you are directing ... (Below threshold)
D.C. Russell:

Methinks you are directing your scorn at the wrong people.

The voters you blame would probably have voted and voted Republican if they had not been so badly betrayed by the so-called Republican politicians whom those voters foolishly trusted to keep their word and to act like Republicans and conservatives.

You seem to be blaming many of the victims, rather than the Republican leaders and members of Congress, who are primarily to blame for this disaster.

No, I blame the people who ... (Below threshold)

No, I blame the people who failed to get their message across to their own representatives for two to six years and then decide to "send that message" by sitting on their lazy duffs on Election Day.

Sorry. There are any number of ways to send a message today. You can send a snail mail letter. They still send telegrams, believe it or not. You can use email. You can call on the phone. You can send a fax. You can stop by the district office and tell the staff directly.

All of these have the advantage of telling the official PRECISELY what you think. Staying home on Election Day sends a mixed and muddled message, at best. I guarantee if all the Republicans who stayed home had sent just one such message each, their voices would have been heard, loud and clear.

That applies, of course, only to self-described "Republicans." Independents can chart their own course, and we know Democrats will turn out for their guys. But it is simply not acceptable for Republicans to not turn out and then claim they were "sending a message" or "discouraged."

It's counter-productive, even boneheaded.

Whoa, here we go again. I j... (Below threshold)

Whoa, here we go again. I just spent three weeks reading the collective wisdom of the conservative blogs on why we were going to hold both the House and the Senate. And now we've already got 2008 figured out. Pleeeezzze.

Jim, I sincerely hope the d... (Below threshold)
Soupy2c2:

Jim, I sincerely hope the dems are not able to muck it up. Thats our children's future, not too mention isn't that what the dems did for the past 6 years? It has hurt our country and History not the MSM will tell that. It didn't get them the majority, we gave that to them. And each one was a slightly different reason contributing to the loss. It can also be said that with each different reason (IE Allen running for Pres while running for Senate was his first downfall)there was a reason that tied them all. . . we "cut and ran" from GW!

cme, very good point. I'm p... (Below threshold)
pam:

cme, very good point. I'm pro-life all the way, but if Rudy comes out strong for allowing states to decide, I'll support him in a heartbeat, because really that all that will happen if Rov V Wade is overturned.

Well, Jim, I voted for my l... (Below threshold)

Well, Jim, I voted for my losing Republican governor, and for my losing Republican senate candidate, and for non-partisan school board members, but that was about it. I did vote for the Republican in my Congressional district even though the local party did absolutely nothing to support him and he was never even mentioned by our soon to be ex-Governor or by our former party chairman and losing Senate candidate.

"My" Republican party did not field any candidates for the state legislative or county positions on my ballot. I had been repeatedly urging them to do so for a very long time, but couldn't even get a negative answer.

Record high murder rates; lousy schools; 100% Democratic officials; all effectively endorsed by my worthless Republican apparatus. If they had given the people even a minimal alternative to the Democrat's abysmal local failures, they might have picked up some votes. But the state and local Republican parties abandoned us--wrote us off completely.

I think many people around the country have felt equally abandoned by Republican leaders and officials who became arrogant and stopped listening to and generally betrayed the faithful.

It's impossible to vote for Republican candidates when there aren't any, and hardly worth going to the polls when the party supports only a handful of candidates out of dozens of races. Many people probably probably figured it was not worth voting for "Republicans" who spend like Democrats, support criminal invaders like Democrats, badmouth the President's nominees for the judiciary and other key slots (i.e. Bolton) like Democrats, and otherwise act like Democrats.

I suspect a lot of voters figured that if many or most Republicans in Congress were going to continue to support the Democratic agenda, they might as well be replaced with real Democrats.

Am I bitter? You bet. We ought to have a choice between Democrats and Republicans. This year some of us had no choice at all, while others had a choice between Democrats and apparent wanna-be Democrats.

Don't act like the state/lo... (Below threshold)

Don't act like the state/local Republican Party organizations are some institution. Parties which are so weak they can't win a dogcatcher race are weak entities, and could be taken over by a grassroots effort.

The type of GOP apparatus you describe mirrors many in the northeast in recent years, where they become more of a social club, holding their safe seats "dutifully," but never competing for a seat held by Democrats, never rocking the boat at all. Then when, inevitably, their "safe" seats come under assault, they fold like a cheap suit.

You should organize like-thinking folk to take it over, and tell the Country Club Republicans running the show now to go to the real CC and have a few highballs, they won't be needed.




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